Burberry upbeat as growth continues, Q4 shines and China recovers
Burberry’s preliminary results for the year to 1 April (FY23) saw continued growth with its CEO Jonathan Akeroyd calling it “a strong financial performance, supported by good progress in our core leather goods and outerwear categories with revenue accelerating in the fourth quarter”.
That Q4 improvement came as growth rebounded in Mainland China and the chief executive hailed Daniel Lee’s “new creative vision”, as well as the firm's reorganisation in its supply chain, merchandising and digital teams.
Akeroyd said the external environment “remains uncertain”, but he’s “confident we can achieve our FY24 and medium-term targets as we focus on executing our plan to realise Burberry's potential as the modern British luxury brand”.
So what were the numbers that are giving him that confidence? Annual revenue rose to £3.094 billion. That was up 10% despite the previous year containing 53 weeks rather than only 52 for the latest period.
On a direct 52-week comparison and at constant exchange rates (CER), revenue was up 5%. Meanwhile reported retail channel revenue rose 10% to £2.5 billion and retail comparable store sales rose 7%. Wholesale rose 6% to £543 million (up 1% CER) and licensing rose 23% to £50 million.
YEAR GOES OUT WITH A BANG
As mentioned, Q4 ended the year on a high as the performance improved and store sales on a comparable basis accelerated to 16% growth with an increase of 13% in Mainland China. Excluding that key market, group-wide growth was 17%, with a 27% jump in EMEIA as tourism returned, and 19% in Asia Pacific. There was a 7% fall in the Americas, but the company said that drop was “broadly offset by tourist spending as Americans transitioned to buying Burberry in EMEIA”.
By product, outerwear comparable store sales grew 7% in FY23 and 30% in Q4; leather goods comps rose 12% in the year and 15% in Q4; and ready-to-wear excluding outerwear saw growth broadly in line with the group average for the year with women's increasing in double-digits while men's saw mid-single-digit growth.
And the company clearly expects more of the same, saying it had an excellent response to its new brand aesthetic and to Lee's first campaign and first runway show.
Its store conversion programme will help too. With 30% of its full-price stores network now updated and a further seven stores operating under its new concept in April, the company is continuing to boost its retail profile.
It aims to update over 50% of stores by FY24 year-end with plans on track to complete the rollout of the portfolio by FY26. Financials of the updated stores continue to show both store productivity and AUR up by a mid-teens percentage against equivalent stores.
It's also making progress on its social and environmental agenda and its cash flow is strong.
PERIOD OF CHANGE
With a new CEO and new creative chief at the helm, last November, the company set out the next phase of its strategy to “realise Burberry's potential as the modern British luxury brand with a medium-term target to grow sales to £4 billion at CER and a longer-term ambition to reach £5 billion in revenue”.
It said it’s making progress on that and the figures clearly support that view, although equally clearly it also has a long way to go with last year almost a billion pounds short of its medium-tern target.
Daniel Lee’s arrival is seen as a crucial part of its drive for growth and the company said his first runway show back in February generated over 4,000 pieces of global media coverage.
It added that its rainwear offer was boosted in FY23 by the positive reception to Lee’s first campaign, along with VIP dressing at the runway show. As a result, it saw a “very strong acceleration in heritage rainwear”, with comparable store sales doubling in the final quarter.
Leather goods outperformed in the year as a whole and it continued to see strength in women's bags — especially in the Lola and Frances shapes as well as the launch of the vintage Burberry Check line. Much of the bags offer was introduced under previous creative chief Riccardo Tisci but Burberry has high hopes for Lee’s new offer that launched at the show and that will be in-store from September.
But despite all the excitement around the change that’s happening, the company is maintaining existing guidance with no upgrade. That said, the guidance is already fairly ambitious. It expects “high single-digit revenue CAGR” from its FY20 base and around a 20% adjusted operating profit margin at CER for FY24. But it’s planning for a currency headwind of around £70 million on revenue and around £40 million on adjusted operating profit in FY24.
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